Why they would not eat Doritos? This was our first reaction when we first set foot in the city of Istanbul.
It was 2:30 in the morning when we arrived at Istanbul Airport. Thanks to KLM for the seven-hour delay. My son and I boarded the Havaist bus to take us to Sultanahmet for 18 liras which was around $2.50. After almost an hour, the bus stopped at our destination.
While carrying our luggage to the taxi stand, our eyes caught the first canine sighting in the city. It looked like a golden retriever and labrador mix. We slowly approached the dog being the dog lovers that we are. It was not a smart thing to do but we could not stop it.
The dog just stood in front of us with his eyes roving between my face and my son's. Our instinct was to look for food in our backpack to hand it over to the patient dog. I had nothing in mine but my son had his bag of doritos.
We carefully dropped two chips on the floor with a strong expectation that the dog would be excited to devour them. He just sniffed it for a quick moment then slowly paced himself away from us. My son and I looked at each other in amazement. How could he not like Doritos? Well, not every human likes it but c'mmon. How could a stray dog in Istanbul refuse it?
As our stay in Istanbul unfolded, we learned that all stray dogs in Istanbul were spoiled and picky. We kept our leftovers in every meal we had in the city to make sure that they would eat what we gave them. We even bought hotdogs and burgers just to feed them. But they were all well fed. I was not sure if the locals or tourist feed them. Or it could be both.
The dogs even had tags on their ears. I was told that these tags help the local health officials track them down for their regular check-ups. There were just a few which were missing tags.
Despite the number of stray dogs around, worry not of stepping on a poop. I hadn't seen one which made us more amazed.
When we were back at the same spot where we first arrived for our departure in the city, there were three dogs playing in the park adjacent to the bus stop. It looked like they were quite enjoying the place to themselves like creatures roaming freely.
As the bus started pulling away, I could not help asking myself if these dogs would have been happier if they live and are cared for in a home by humans.
I guess I can never tell.